Longleat Safari

Weight Watchers branch for Longleat's Koalas

Posted: 23rd June, 2021

Keepers at Longleat are using a novel method to weigh their koalas. Rather than attempt to get the marsupials to stay still on a weighing machine, staff at the Wiltshire safari park use a set of scales attached to an adapted wooden branch, which the koalas happily hold on to.

Weight is a key indicator of a koala’s health and each individual animal has to be weighed twice a week to ensure they’re in top condition.

“We decided to get them to sit on the branch as that’s where they spend the vast majority of their day and it’s also somewhere they feel safe and comfortable,” said keeper James Dennis.

“Weight is a really useful measure of how well an individual animal is and, in the case of the females, to check whether they might be pregnant.

“It also means they can get used to being close to us and, while they’re hanging about we can feed them and also carry out an overall health check,” he added.

Longleat is home to England’s only group of koalas and the only place in Europe to look after southern koalas.

They live in the purpose-built Koala Creek facility which includes a natural stream, eucalyptus trees, climbing poles, naturally-themed indoor and outdoor habitats, viewing areas, interpretation boards as well as a Koala Care unit.

The facility is part of Koala Life, a joint initiative with the Government of South Australia and Cleland Wildlife Park to support research and raise funds for koala management and conservation in the wild. In 2019 Ceawlin, Lord Bath became its patron.

lin, Lord Bath became its patron.

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